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My Son’s Ears Work, So Why Won’t He Listen?

Question:

I have a difficult time getting my 5-year-old son’s attention. He has a lot of energy and sometimes it seems like he can't hear me. But I've had his ears checked, so I know he can. How can I get him to listen to me? 

 

Answer:

Young boys are easily distracted by things around them and when they are focused on an activity that interests them, it’s difficult to get their attention. Removing distractions, getting on his level, being eye-to-eye and using a normal voice tone are the most basic things you can do to help your son develop listening skills.

We encourage parents to teach their children good listening skills by practicing these simple steps:

  1. Stop what you are doing.
  2. Look at the person who is talking.
  3. Ask questions if you don't understand. 

 Along with listening, teach your son to follow instructions by:

  1. Look at the person who is talking.
  2. Say, "Okay."
  3. Do what is asked immediately.  

Teach these skills at a neutral time and give good reasons for why your son should use them the way you have described. Then practice often, keeping practices brief and fun with instructions like “Go get each of us a popsicle.”

Be consistent with your expectations and praise him when he listens and follows instructions.

 

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